Chairman’s Report 2013

‘Organisations that embrace diversity thrive because they are working with a whole team.’

Annual Report Cover 200x282“Giving their all” is a term used to describe someone who is putting in all their energy, and giving everything they have to give, to achieve a task. It is a term you can easily visualise and one that speaks volumes as organisations look at why supporting diversity in the workplace is so critical.

We have all read the statistics and heard the news headlines about New Zealand’s changing demographics.

We know our workforce is aging. We know there are over 160 different cultures living and working in Auckland. We also know that these demographic changes aren’t yet being reflected in the make-up of many of our companies and where they are, that those differences aren’t necessarily being supported or respected.

We know that has to change. But we might need reminding why. If companies only accept part of the individual – the bit they are comfortable with, the bit that blends in with the rest of the team – they are not dealing with the whole person. Only a whole person can “give their all”.

We know organisations that embrace diversity show gains in productivity but it can be useful to put the statistics to one side and think about why. Organisations that embrace diversity thrive because they are working with a whole team.

This year the Board has focused on working with the new leadership at the Trust and reviewing our priorities in the face of an increasingly diverse working environment. We were thrilled to see the high calibre of entries in the ANZ & EEO Trust Diversity Awards NZ 2013. These organisations understand that practicing and promoting diversity is part of a successful business. Talking to these companies it is also clear there is a respect for the rights of the individual. Embracing the whole person is the commitment a responsible employer makes to each team member when they bring them into their company. 

It is a commitment we should all prioritise. We know we’re missing out when we see figures that put women participation on governance boards at less than 10%. Or when job advertisements still specify “English as a first language” in the midst of global economy. Or when sexual preference sees a better qualified candidate miss out on a new role.

Committing to change is the best solution we have to these inequalities and it is why I am passionate about my role with EEO Trust.

We have a lot to be proud of this year. The first ‘Diversity Awards’ event was a true celebration of difference and of companies that have been truly successful in implementing policies to support diversity.

Our monthly programme of workshops and seminars is well-subscribed and feedback from our attendees shows they are leaving these events better equipped to build the workplace they want.

We are also very pleased to have continued many strong partnerships, such as our valued alliance with the forward-thinking ANZ, and to welcome new partners including AUT University.

It is a privilege to support the EEO Trust and the dedicated team working to turn best practice into a reality in our workplaces. My continued appreciation is extended for the support from Trustees to our Chief Executive as she manages the evolution of the Trust and ensures it is keeping pace with the changing demographics of our communities and our workplaces.

Change is truly the only constant and we look forward to helping our members and the wider business community embrace change, celebrate difference and succeed over the next 12 months.

Michael Barnett
October 2013

2013 Annual Report 

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